Note: Some of you are already doing something like what is discussed here.
You know who you are. But read on anyway.
Do you have a problem with passwords? It seems that a lot of people do but it doesn’t have to be that way. I mean, just write them down and keep the list in places where you can find it. For example, write them in a notebook; Or on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet; Or put a copy of the list on Google Keep; Or write them on PostIts and stick them on your monitor. But, you ask, what happens if someone gets a copy somehow?; like my ex getting a copy of my Google Keep notes! No problem. What you need is the world’s best password manager. And it’s FREE! And I’m going to give it to you now!
This “password manager” is just a list of 26 words that you must memorize where each word starts with one of the letters of the alphabet (a-z)… And… a simple algorithm that you apply. For example…
My list of 26 words is the military alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, … Zulu which I have memorized). Of course, it could just as well be a list of names like Anna, Brittany, Chuck, … Zorro. But I will use the military alphabet. In addition, you will need a simple algorithm to use for numbers and special characters. Here’s how it works…
Let’s say I need a new password for the Bank Of America. Let’s say it needs at least 8 characters, at least 1 uppercase letter, at least 1 number, and at least 1 special character. So I might write down the following in my notebook (or on a postit, etc.):
BofA12345&@ <=== This is my password that I write down somewhere
But on the Bank of America web site when I type in my new password I would enter the following:
BrosfoAl29@ <===== This is what I type in the password field on browser
The next time I log in to the BofA site I will look at my Postit Note that says “Bank of America password is “BofA12345&@” but I will apply my password “translation rules” to this and instead enter “BrosfoAl29@”
Here are my rules…
Using the military alphabet I will substitute the first 2 letters of the military word to replace each corresponding letter on my Postit Note.
If the letter on the Postit is uppercase I will also make the first of these 2 letters of the military word uppercase as well.
Note that the first letter of the pre-translated password on the Postit Note is uppercase B. B stands for bravo. So in place of the “B” on the Postit I will key in “Br” in the password field on the browser. Note that since the B of the written-down password is uppercase then the first of the 2 replacement letters will also be uppercase. Hence the “B” from the “password” on the postit gets replaced by “Br” when I actually key it in.
For lowercase letters on the written-down postit “password” I will simply use the first 2 letters of the corresponding military word. So the military word for “o” is oscar. Using the first 2 letters of oscar yields “os” (both replacement letters will be lowercase since the “o” in the written-down BofA12345&@ is lowercase.
Numbers written in the “postit password” are strings of 3 or more digits. For example 123, 935, 1234, 12345, and so on. Here’s the substitution/translation rule…
Multiply all but the last number to get a product then add the last number to that result. For example, 123 from the written postit password becomes (1×2) + 3 which yields 5 so I would enter 5 in the browser. Let’s use 12345. This becomes (1x2x3x4) + 5 which yields 29. So “29” would be entered in the browser. How about 321? This gets translated to (3×2) + 1 which yields 7 and it’s the “7” that gets entered into the browser.
When I see a “&” I simply enter the special character that follows. So “&@” simply becomes “@”
In a nutshell, you should come up with something simple yet meaningful as your “written down password.” When you are coming up with the written-down password you will be keeping in mind and considering your translation rules so keep it simple and meaningful. For example, you might use BillG456 for your Microsoft email password. You write down “My password is BillG456” which is somewhat meaningful to you. But when you actually enter your password in the browser you would enter “BrinliliGo26” which you can think of as
Bravo india lima lima Golf ((4×5)+6)= 26
where only the highlighted characters are entered.
The above is merely an example algorithm. You might use a similar set of rules based on the names of people you know for the letters. And you can come up with your own simple scheme for numbers or special characters. Or, just use the above as-is. But whatever you do, the point is that you “write down” your “pre-translated” passwords on paper, and/or put them in a text file, or write them in Google Keep, or whatever is convenient for you!!! . And whenever you actually enter them on the computer you will do the translation in your head as you type them.
And if someone gets hold of your “paper” password list do you think they would be able to figure out what it’s all about. Would they know or even think that some translation process is needed? Would they have any clue what the translation process is? Of course not! All of that information is perfectly SAFE IN YOUR HEAD!
Trust me… this is really easy and you will get ridiculously efficient at translating, on the fly, your paper passwords to what you key in. I’ve been using this method for over 20 years! This method is so foolproof and secure that I even write my pre-translated “paper” passwords on the front of my credit cards!
Trust me! This is Middle School level stuff! You can do this or something similar that you come up with. You can have the absolute best password manager ever. And you will carry it with you wherever you go. And it doesn’t cost anything because IT’S YOU! IT’S IN YOUR HEAD! And you can have fun doing this too! Trust me… you’ll be amazed at how easy and fast it becomes after just a short time. You will soon be making the translations as you type while barely thinking about it. It’s like riding a bike.
If you don’t think you can do this then you need therapy. Here’s my therapist. She’s good.
Moving on… once again, you don’t have to use the above “rules.” Play with the idea for a couple of weeks and then come up with your own translation rules. You’ll have fun. And best of all…
Once you start using your new password manager
you’ll find that
managing your passwords is as simple as just writing them down.